UPDATE (6:04pm): Portland star Damian Lillard (ankle) is inactive against the Warriors, according to coach Terry Stotts.
Programming note: Warriors-Blazers coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.
OAKLAND -- The Warriors and Trail Blazers that take the court Wednesday night at Oracle Arena hardly resemble the teams only eight months removed from a surprisingly competitive series in the Western Conference Semifinals.
The Warriors (30-5) still own the best record in the NBA, but the addition of four-time scoring champ Kevin Durant gives them a different look, as does the late summer pickup of center JaVale McGee.
Meanwhile, Portland has taken a quick and severe tumble. The surprise team of the league last season is 15-21, three games removed from a six-game losing streak and facing more questions than it has answers.
Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has missed the last four games with injury, but there is no questioning his desire to play in this game. The Oakland native admits to looking forward to every chance to play in his hometown.
Warriors by 16
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Klay Thompson vs. CJ McCollum: With Lillard expected to be out, the bulk of the offensive load falls to McCollum, who is explosive in his own right. He torched Minnesota for a career-high 43 points on Sunday. Though Stephen Curry usually gets the majority of the minutes on McCollum, that assignment will go to Thompson should Lillard not be able to play.
Warriors: No injuries listed.
Blazers: G Damian Lillard (L ankle sprain) is listed as doubtful. C Festus Ezeli (L knee surgery) is listed as out.
Warriors: 9-1. Trail Blazers: 3-7.
The Warriors have won the last four regular-season meetings -- including two earlier this season -- eight of nine and 13 of 16, including the last five in Oakland.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
1) Bring the energy: The Warriors occasionally float through the first half of games in which they are heavily favored -- even at home. That has allowed opponents to stay within striking range. That could invite danger, as the Blazers are most dangerous when their bombers (they rank eighth in made 3-pointers) get into a rhythm.
2) Is D back in Portland? Portland’s massive slippage has been placed squarely on the defense. The numbers are not pretty, as they are 30th in defensive efficiency, 29th in defensive rating and 28th in points allowed and in 3-point field goal defense. Though the Blazers have raised their intensity and are utilizing more trapping, the question is whether the Warriors will notice?
3) Lucky 200: Warriors coach Steve Kerr will be coaching his 200th game. His current record (170-29) and winning percentage (85.4) are the highest in NBA history at this stage. That won’t change, regardless of the outcome against the Blazers.